Thursday, February 6, 2020

John Solomon On Manafort's "Black Ledger"

John Solomon has an interesting article today at his new site, Just the News. The article is based on a brief interview with Paul Manafort's former partner, Rick Gates, who was forced into a plea deal by Team Mueller in exchange for testimony against Manafort. In the interview Gates told Solomon that the famous "black ledger" that Manafort was alleged to maintain--supposedly documenting cash payments to Manafort from Russian-backed politicians in Ukraine--was a total fabrication. Not only that, but Gates told Team Mueller that all the way back in April, 2018:

Key witness told Team Mueller that Russia collusion evidence found in Ukraine was fabricated

Here's what Solomon leads off with:

One of Robert Mueller’s pivotal trial witnesses told the special prosecutor’s team in spring 2018 that a key piece of Russia collusion evidence found in Ukraine known as the “black ledger” was fabricated, according to interviews and testimony. 
The ledger document, which suddenly appeared in Kiev during the 2016 U.S. election, showed alleged cash payments from Russian-backed politicians in Ukraine to ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. 
 “The ledger was completely made up,” cooperating witness and Manafort business partner Rick Gates told prosecutors and FBI agents, according to a written summary of an April 2018 special counsel’s interview. 
Gates’ account is backed by several Ukrainian officials who stated in interviews dating to 2018 that the ledger was of suspicious origins and could not be corroborated.

As Solomon points out, this puts the "black ledger" in the same category as other Russia Hoax "evidence," such as the Steele "dossier"--fabrications.

What surprises me is that, while Solomon and Gates go into considerable detail in explaining how it can be determined that the "black ledger" is a fraud, Solomon leaves out an important detail.

One of the Ukrainian officials who backs up Gates' account is Sergey Leschenko, a member of the Ukrainian parliament. Leschenko was the person who publicized the supposed "black ledger" during the summer of 2016, forcing Manafort out of the Trump campaign. What Leschenko did was illegal, and now with Trump in the White House Leschenko has an obvious motive to be cooperative and to support Gates' account.

What Solomon fails to mention, however, is the well known fact that Leschenko was an important source for Fusion GPS, the Clinto oppo research shop. That provides another connection between the Steele "dossier" and Manafort's "black ledger"--they both appear to originate with Fusion GPS, laundered through non-US persons: Steele and Leschenko.

In March, 2019, I reviewed Nellie Ohr's testimony to the House: Nellie Ohr's Story--Puzzlements. Here's the part that pertains to Leschenko:


Probably the biggest surprise in her testimony is her confirmation that Ukrainian legislator Serhiy Leshchenko was a "source" for Fusion GPS. One point of interest in this is the entire line of questioning--as of October 19, 2018, I don't think Serhiy Leshchenko was on any researchers' radar screens, but he was definitely on the House GOP's radar screen. Nellie herself states that she was quite familiar with Leshchenko as an "anti-corruption" activist in Ukraine--a George Soros connected angle that we recently explored in The Soros, Ukraine, FBI Connection and Do All Roads In The Russia Hoax Lead To Ukraine? The exchange regarding Leshchenko between Nellie and the Committee is a bit ambiguous toward the end, but there's no doubt that the questioners believe that Leshchenko was providing information about the travels of Trump family members--an area of research that Nellie was engaged in. As I say, it's somewhat unclear whether Nellie actually confirms that, although the probability is that she does--but she suggests that there may have been more to Leshchenko's source information than simply Trump family travel. You decide (pp. 113-115):

Q: Regarding any of the research during this year, 10-11 month period, was any -- was any research based off of sources of theirs that you were aware of?
A: Yes.
Q: And who were the sources?
A: I recall a -- they were mentioning someone named Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian.
Q: And did they give you any indication as to Leshchenko's connections with them, how they got to know him? Were they doing work for him?
A: With Fusion GPS?
Q: Correct.
A: I am not aware of how they --
Q: Were you aware of how they had a connection with him?
A: I am not aware.
Q: But you were aware that he was a source of information that was leading to information that they had, that they were then presenting to you as reasons for following up on  opposition research or what research --
A: Yes.
Q: -- that is, on President Trump or his family?
A: My understanding is that some -- yes. And -- yes, it was not necessarily on his family that Leshchenko's research was on.
Q: Are you aware of what his research, or what his source information included?
A: His source information, I am not aware.
Q: You are just aware that he was a source of --
A: Yes.
Q: -- Glenn Simpson? Or was it a source of Mr. [Jake] Berkowitz? Or both?
A: I am not aware of a differentiation between them. Just a source for Fusion GPS. 

Leshchenko as a source for Fusion GPS is obviously an interesting angle from a number of standpoints, but especially considering his connections to two major Clinton donors: Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk and George Soros (see links above). We get a picture of international connectedness and collusion that may tie in to the Ukrainian connections to the Clinton campaign in the US--Alexandra Chalupa in particular.


Note well what Nellie says about Leschenko: "it was not necessarily on [Trump's] family that Leshchenko's research was on." Was his "research" on Manafort? In light of the information that has come out, that seems certain. So the "black ledger" and the Steele "dossier" are both Fusion GPS hit jobs.

Now, the fact that Gates told Team Mueller that the "black ledger" was a fabrication explains why Team Mueller ended up dropping it like a hot potato:

After gaining wide attention as purported evidence of Russian ties to the Trump campaign, the ledger was never introduced as evidence at Manafort’s 2018 trial or significantly analyzed in Mueller’s final 2019 report, which concluded that Trump did not collude with Russia to influence the 2016 election. No FBI 302 interview reports have been released either showing what the FBI concluded about the ledger.

But Team Mueller left the "black ledger" and the "collusion" narrative that it supported hanging out there in the leadup to the 2018 midterm elections. Funny, that.

The big question remains: Irrespective of what Gates told Team Mueller, at what point was Team Mueller aware that the predication for their investigation of Manafort was basically BS? They knew from the get go that the Steele "dossier" was BS, and they knew that the two items shared a common origin: the Hillary campaign's oppo research shop, Fusion GPS. I sure hope John Durham is taking a hard look at all of this.


  1. I sometimes wonder if all the information I'm reading here and on other reports, CTH etc and in various Twitter feeds, how much of that is available and being used by Durham?

    I presume his people are tracking much of these citizen journalist research clues, but there's so much of it - maybe too much?

  2. MW wrote:

    >>The big question remains: Irrespective of what Gates told Team Mueller, at what point was Team Mueller aware that the predication for their investigation of Manafort was basically BS? <<

    Well, we know that Strzok and Page discussed Srtzok's growing impression, in May 2016, that "there's no 'there' there" vis-a-vis the "Russia Collusion," just prior to Strzok joining Mueller's Investigation shortly after it launched.

    One presumes he shared that conclusion, and the evidence (or lack thereof) that lead to it, with Team Mueller.

    So, it seems fair to conclude Mueller knew from the very start that the FBI had failed to find inculpatory evidence of Russian Collusion with the Trump campaign from the kick-off of CH in late July 2016 to the time Mueller was appointed.

    So, in summary, Mueller either knew, or suspected -- from the very start of his investigation -- it was all BS.

    This is consistent with my hypothesis that the Mueller Investigation was all about framing Trump as best they could for a bogus Obstruction charge, and to use the investigation to smear/indict/bankrupt/ and blackmail as many Trump associates on whatever process crimes they could fabricate, in the hopes of getting something they could use against Trump... but enough about Gen. Flynn, Manafort, Roger Stone, etc.

    And in the meanwhile, the ongoing investigation and associated leaks were used to maintain a cloud over the head of the GOP through the 2018 elections, which bought the Dems the House of Representatives, which they desperately needed to stop Nunes' investigations via HPSCI, and to ram through the just disposed fake Impeachment.

    If one is concerned about illegal Election Interference, one need look no further than the Mueller Investigation.

    In a just world, it would have been closed down 6 weeks after opening, for lack of evidence, just like a Broadway Musical that has no songs, no love scenes, no dancing, and no audience -- and hence, no legitimate purpose.

    "Don't Cry for me, Bob Mueller."

    1. I agree with Devin Nunes, who has repeatedly said that they knew by mid January, 2017, that it was all BS. So what does that tell you about Comey, McCabe, and Rosenstein? Team Mueller and his Witchhunt was only ever about removing an outsider from the WH.

    2. and yet the Republicans in the house were not able to discredit the Mueller investigation, force them to disclose that they had nothing. Voters went into the 2018 congressional elections thinking Mueller must have had something.

    3. Wrong. Mueller was discredited from the outset, as I've demonstrated on these pages. That much of the public was fooled simply shows the remaining influence that the MSM has over politicians.

    4. Is it just the MSM, or maybe also the D.S. (beyond just Romney, esp. on the SSCI?
      (Sorry for earlier putting this reply into the wrong place below, under your reply to Forbes.)

  3. @Mark @Steve

    I think you are both right.

    Mueller was 'discredited from the outset' in that close observers could already tell that the Clinton Campaign had been up to no good. There is no question that Comey, Strzok, Rosenstein and Mueller knew there was no 'there there'.

    But Steve is right, too, many voters did believe that Mueller must have had something, especially as the indictments trickled out (Flynn, PapaD, Manafort, the Russian troll farm). Its not too hard to conclude that the 2018 House election was lost in the event.

    That the public was fooled is not only the result of the influence of the MSM but more accurately the result of the conspiracy of the MSM with Mueller (Weissmann) and Democratic politicians to repeatedly mislead the public.

    Don't forget, too, that the utterly corrupt and mendacious Kavanaugh hearings were held in the Fall of 2018. It sickens me to this day to think about what Feinstein and friends were persuaded to do to smear that judge. If there is a Hell, I am certain they will end up there.

    1. Simply to add here--the DNC-MSM propaganda effort was strong throughout 2018 leading up to the election with "where there's smoke, there's fire" (Mueller must have something), inasmuch as it was a media smoke machine blowing it up our collective arse.

      The public has an ingrained desire to believe media is telling the truth--or at least, has the "story"--and not that they're being misled (lied to) with partisan propaganda.

      It's the same as the anecdote about looking for lost car keys under the street lamp--because that's where the light shines. The public looks to media to shine the light as the source available for explaining the event or controversy.

    2. "The public has an ingrained desire to believe media is telling the truth"

      Which is why the talking point: Conspiracy theory!

      Americans believe conspiracies are something that happens in other countries--despite the evidence of the federal criminal code.

    3. my point is the house republicans did not force Mueller to produce a report before the election. So I do not share the praise of Nunes now. The voters voted them out because they assumed Mueller must have had something. Heck, republicans could have been afraid Mueller did have something, and release prior to election would hurt them even more.

    4. "house republicans did not force Mueller to produce a report before the election"

      You can pin that on Paul Ryan, who didn't give Nunes subpoena support when he most needed it and allowed the bogus ethics complaint against Nunes to continue.

    5. @Steve

      "I do not share the praise of Nunes now."

      In the totality of things Devin Nunes is one of a small handful of people without whom the Russia Hoax might have prevailed. In my book he's a hero.

    6. Yes, a hero. He went through a lot.

  4. The 2018 loss of the house was a Pyrrhic victory for the Democrats and the GOPe(GOP Establishment), or Uniparty. This has allowed the Democrats, and their allies to over reach and exposed a huge amount of corruption in government, bias in the media (and discredited them), and a desire for victory at any cost.

    I do wonder if there was no Mueller investigation, along with he constant leaks, if the GOP would have lost the house. My guess is yes. The GOPe, Paul Ryan is their poster boy, seemed to want to actually lose the house, as a way to restrain Trump. The end result is the GOPe has lost a lot of power.

    1. I read recently that the candidates for GOP House races are coming out in droves, which suggests to me that they will not be GOPe but are instead trying to capitalize on Trump's mojo.

    2. "....which suggests to me that they will not be GOPe but are instead trying to capitalize on Trump's mojo."

      Let us hope so.

  5. I am surprised at how central Ukraine was to all the anti Trump stuff. For such an unimportant country, why the outside influence?

    The corruption out of the Ukraine involving the US is making my head spin.

    - Hunter Biden got paid $150 Million?
    - Kerry's son was also linked to the Ukraine Gas Company.
    - Nancy Pelosi's son, Paul Pelosi Jr., had some involvement
    - Romney advisor, Joseph Cofer Black, was on the board for Burisma
    - $1.8 Billion in US aid may have disappeared in the Ukraine.
    - Podesta's brother, Tony Podesta, also had dealings with the Ukraine, and was actually partnered with Manafort.

    And stories of the US Embassy was spying on the Trump campaign?

    Be nice if the Main Stream Media would investigate in a non biased way, what is going on with Ukraine. My head is spinning, I feel like I am going through another Reality Check, and my world view is being shaken by all the corruption that is coming out that involves the US. I was brought up to believe the US was one of the most non corrupt nations in the world, we are the boy scouts, with anti corruption statute from 1977, after the Lockheed Japan bribery scandal.

    1. "For such an unimportant country, why the outside influence?"

      Don't kid yourself--it's a hugely important country. Without Ukraine, Russia is just another big country with a lot of problems. Ukraine was the bread basket of Russia, the industrial heart of Russia, and provided disproportionate numbers of the officer corps.

      US foreign policy hubris overrreached with that coup.

      "I was brought up to believe the US was one of the most non corrupt nations in the world ..."

      And anyone who told you different was a conspiracy theorist?

    2. Ukraine is also at the center of NATO's existential crisis.

    3. "I was brought up to believe the US was one of the most non corrupt nations in the world ..."

      According to Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index, the USA is currently the 23rd least corrupt country in the world, below, among others, Uruguay, the UAE, Singapore, Estonia, Ireland, Japan and Hong Kong...

      As a point of comparison, have you ever done business in Hong Kong?

  6. Its also worth mentioning that Ukraine ranks 126th on the same index and is the most corrupt country in Europe.

    And yet, in the face of this data, and in your face evidence of misuse of funds, slimeball Adam Schiff and friends would have us simply hand over foreign aid to Ukraine with absolutely no questions asked.

    Talk about corruption!

  7. I found this bit in Solomon's article to be quite eye-opening:

    -->the black ledger could not be a contemporaneous document because the party’s official accounting books burned in a 2014 fire during Ukraine’s Maidan uprising.

    “All the real records were burned when the party headquarters was set on fire when Yanukovych fled the country,” Gates told the investigators, according to the interview summary.<--

    Now, how did a fire that destroyed the party records go unnoticed?? Presumably, the fire can be corroborated.

    1. There's a reason Mueller dropped that narrative of the "black ledger."

    2. It served its purpose: to reopen an investigation that had been declined by Rod Rosenstein.

    3. Is it just the MSM, or maybe also the D.S. (beyond just Romney), esp. on the SSCI?

    4. -->It served its purpose: to reopen an investigation that had been declined by Rod Rosenstein.<--

      So false evidence was used as predication (black book) to (re)open the case against Manafort?? Do I have this right?

    5. IMO that's exactly what happened. And I'll continue to say so until proven wrong.

  8. "It served its purpose"

    Yes, because the coup tactics have always served a multiple goal strategy.

    This is well illustrated by the Impeachment Tactic. I'm sure the conspirators would have been overjoyed if they had uncovered a few more embarrassing tidbits that had led to a majority vote for conviction or in their wet dreams a two-thirds majority. Like a recording of an incautious Trump vowing to "Lock Biden Up". But conviction always had to be a stretch goal. In the meantime they were able to slime Trump in the MSM for over four months simply by 'impeaching' (charging) him with a made up story that some voters undoubtedly bought. As in the case of sexual assault allegations, the Left well understands that the mere accusation can be as or more damning than any court conviction long down the road. How many noticed the ultra-slimeball Richard Blumenthal arguing after Trump's acquittal that he 'wasn't really acquitted', because the charges still stand.

    How many voters do the Dems have to persuade not to vote for Trump to win Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania in November?

    Of course there is also a price to pay for their dishonesty, but their current calculus must be that sliming Trump non-stop, aided and abetted non-stop by their media allies, results in a net gain.

    We shall see.

    1. "sexual assault allegations"

      Speaking of which ...

  9. In Weinstein's case the allegations might be true!

    But even in Weinstein's case he is entitled to a trial before a jury of his peers and he is innocent until proven guilty. I wonder how many Americans still believe this...

    Apologies, I'm channeling my inner Dershowitz today...